Dee Dee and her husband, Tommy, farm 600 acres of Peanuts, Cotton, Corn, Wheat, Soybeans, Pumpkins, & Beef Cattle. They also run Darden’s Country Store, a family run business since 1952, where they cure country hams.
Dee Dee's Nomination: Dee Dee Darden is passionate about our family, farming and her community. Ma, or GrandDee, as the five grandchildren call her, and my dad Tommy work the family farm near Smithfield, Virginia. They grow 600 acres of peanuts, cotton, wheat, corn, soybeans, pumpkins, and raise beef cattle. They also own & operate Darden’s Country Store, a family run business since 1952, where they cure and sell 1,000 hams a year. On Saturdays she takes the store “to town” and participates in a local farmers market. At other times, Mom is either keeping the store, spending time on the farm helping with planting and harvesting duties, bookkeeping, marketing, tending the cattle and errand running.
Every fall, over 1,500 school age children and their parents visit the farm. DeeDee organizes hay rides, pumpkin picking, cow “meetNgreet,” and gives a lesson on how food gets from the farm to the fork. Community is near and dear to Dee Dee’s heart. She serves or has served on several local, state and national commodity boards. She currently serves as chairman of Virginia Small Grains Check Off Board and is past president of the Virginia Grains Producers. As past chairman of the National Peanut Board, she traveled nationally and internationally promoting USA peanuts. Last fall, Dee Dee ran for the County Board of Supervisor seat against an incumbent of eight years and she won with 70 percent of the vote. Through the years, Mom has served as room mother, class chaperone and sideline cheerleader! Now, she is busy attending grandkids’ school activities and ball games. The grandkids and Mom love riding the John Deere Gator to visit the cows and check the crops. We were voted Farm Family of 2007 in our county, but as the grandkids say, my mom is the best Farm“Ma” of all time.